This article was sponsored by myFitment.
The auto parts niche is unlike any other product category. A lot of the success or failure of selling auto parts comes down to the fitment data that you add to your products. Fitment or compatibility is the vehicle year, make, model, engine etc. that your parts and accessories fit.
Having fitment data that is accurate and complete, and in the right format for every marketplace, is crucial to success in this industry. Only people who know the auto parts business will appreciate all the technical complexities involved in that.
myFitment founder Adrian Klingel has been in the industry for twenty years, starting at CARQUEST Auto Parts in 1998. In 2003 he created Illumaware, the first software-as-a-service business in the automotive aftermarket for data management, with customers including Ford Motorcraft, Brembo, and many other enterprise manufacturers. Over the years, Adrian has also been involved in the creation of industry-standard data formats like PIES XML, and eBay’s own master vehicle list (MVL).
As a whole, the myFitment team has been sending fitment data to Amazon for ten years. In the last three years they’ve provided over 1.5 billion lines of fitment data for over 25 million listings to leading marketplaces and websites. So, this company doesn’t just know how fitment works, they know how to handle it at scale.
What’s the big deal about fitment?
The number one question for buyers of auto parts and accessories is, “Will it fit my car?”
There are a few ways they can try to answer that question, including:
- Carefully reading the product description, looking for their make, model, year, engine etc. and checking for any exceptions they need to be aware of.
- Contacting the seller directly to ask if it fits their vehicle, but this can drive multiple back-and-forth messages to get all the information that’s needed.
- Using an online parts finder, where the buyer selects their exact vehicle and is then shown parts and accessories that are compatible.
The method that most buyers prefer is the online parts finder. It’s quick, convenient and reassuring. The answer they get is simple and unmistakable: here are the products that are compatible with your car.
So far, so good – for the buyer. But for the seller, it’s a different story.
For the seller, this parts-finder experience all depends on providing the marketplace with high-quality fitment data to go with their product photos and descriptions.
What is high-quality fitment data?
First, your fitment data needs to be accurate. If it’s not, you’ll at some point make sales to customers who actually needed a different part.
There’s nothing more frustrating than disassembling half your car only to find that you have the wrong component. If you are selling the wrong parts, you can expect to receive a lot of complaints and negative feedback.
Inaccurate data also causes bad product reviews and costly returns. Sellers need to know about bad data as quickly as possible, so they can get it fixed.
If your fitment data is incomplete – if it doesn’t include every single compatible vehicle – you’ll miss out on sales.
In today’s motor industry, the same engines, transmissions, suspension systems and other components are used in many different makes and models. There’s a good chance that the parts and accessories you sell will fit cars that you don’t know about.
So, you need to do the research and make sure your fitment data includes every compatible vehicle. If you don’t, you’re underselling your products and letting a competitor get sales that could have come to you.
Different marketplaces need fitment data in different formats. Some, like Amazon, use the industry standard ACES, managed by trade body the Auto Care Association. eBay has its own Master Vehicle Lists or MVLs. The two delivery formats are completely different, though they share much in common in the data itself.
So, you might have spent years building up excellent parts fitment data on eBay, but that’s in eBay’s own format and can’t just be taken and reused on other sales channels.
Where does myFitment come in?
myFitment is a complete system for sellers of auto parts and accessories. It helps sellers ensure their fitment data is accurate, complete and in the right format for every sales channel.
Uniquely, myFitment offers auto parts sellers the ability to author and manage their data in one place for Amazon, eBay, Newegg, and any ACES-compatible sales channel. myFitment can transform eBay fitment data to ACES for Amazon for sellers who are new to that platform. Similarly, it transforms ACES to eBay format in a fully-automated, seamless fashion.
Fitment is the core of what myFitment does, because it is one of the most important and most difficult aspects of selling auto parts online. However, it also looks beyond fitment to the other needs of auto parts and accessories sellers.
Other ways myFitment helps sellers grow, and be more profitable, include:
- Dealing directly with Amazon support staff to handle fitment issues.
- An eBay VIP Program with a free eBay store, free listings and free subtitles.
- Advice from account managers experienced in both the parts industry and ecommerce.
We’ll cover those in more detail below.
Fitment research and Inquisitor
Complete fitment data doesn’t just happen, you have to go out and get it. myFitment acts as a central database for your fitment information, so you can bring in data from many different sources.
myFitment helps sellers pull data together by:
- Manual data entry, with real-time validation that you are entering valid vehicle configurations (combinations of make, model, engine, year etc.)
- Bulk data entry by Excel spreadsheet upload.
- Copying fitment from any eBay listing (not just your own), including parts for cars, trucks, motorcycles, boats, scooters, golf carts, snowmobiles and ATVs.
- Automatic conversion of ACES fitment data (as used by Amazon) into eBay fitment data. ACES contains over 40 attributes compared to eBay’s five fields, so this is not a simple task to handle manually.
- Monthly data revalidation against the latest list of valid vehicle configurations.
- A service called Inquisitor which automatically finds fitment data for your listings, based on part numbers or patchy vehicle compatibility data.
How does Inquisitor work?
Inquisitor can run from a spreadsheet upload or, for VIP level users, fully automatically.
In automatic mode, Inquisitor scans your listings for brand names and part numbers, then looks for matching products with existing fitment information to use. Inquisitor can collect fitment data for hundreds of thousands of listings very quickly.
After the initial run, it continually checks for new fitment data to add to your listings.
Selling parts and accessories on Amazon
A few years back, Amazon was not a huge seller of auto parts and accessories. Today, it is the leading marketplace for new auto brands and private label products to launch on.
myFitment have worked hard so they can take new brands to the Amazon marketplace as quickly as possible.
One key feature is that, after sending fitment data to Amazon, myFitment automatically reads Amazon’s processing report and adds the Document IDs and messages to the correct product and fitment line in your myFitment account. That provides full transparency and makes it easy to correct and resubmit your fitment data. Moreover, it gives you the peace of mind that Amazon really did receive your data.
An important step for Amazon sellers is to register their brand with the Auto Care Association (ACA). As part of ACES, the ACA maintains a list of parts and accessories brands, and Amazon validates products against that list. myFitment registers sellers with the ACA, so they don’t fall at the first hurdle when launching on Amazon.
At the Premium and VIP package levels, myFitment can represent sellers when they need to resolve fitment issues with Amazon Seller Support. Amazon’s first line of support can lack knowledge of parts compatibility issues, so myFitment will step in and make sure that problems are resolved quickly and correctly.
eBay VIP Program
Amazon may lead the market for new auto brands, but eBay is still a powerful platform for resellers of existing brands.
myFitment works in partnership with eBay to offer a VIP package for auto parts and powersports sellers, with the following advantages:
- A free eBay anchor store, free listings and free subtitles. Subtitles are increasingly important on eBay to differentiate your listings from competitors, and normally they are prohibitively expensive at $1.50 per listing.
- Increased eBay listing and inventory limits.
- Free access to Inquisitor (see above). For eBay, Inquisitor can find item specifics, titles, product features, and more in addition to fitment.
myFitment offers full listing management for VIP users, so they can create and update eBay listings through a spreadsheet upload. Alternatively, myFitment integrates with ChannelAdvisor. Other multi-channel software integrations are under development.
This year, myFitment hired Peter Strack as its new Director of Marketplaces. Peter has over ten years of experience at eBay and PayPal, completely focused on auto parts sellers and the auto industry. He will be working intensively with myFitment VIP users to help them grow their sales on the eBay marketplace.
What does myFitment cost?
Subscriptions start with the Basic package at $19 a month, including automated fitment validation, export of fitment data to Excel and other formats, Amazon and eBay integration, and the ability to copy fitment data from eBay listings.
The more advanced packages add features including Amazon-to-eBay fitment conversion, the Amazon Advocate service, export of ACES XML, the Inquisitor tool and the eBay VIP Program.
All plans come with a 14-day trial period.
What’s next for myFitment?
Since the business began in 2013, myFitment has been quietly adding features and building its user base. It has grown purely through referrals from eBay, Amazon and its own customers, and has served thousands of sellers. This year, the company recruited six additional staff.
In 2019, myFitment will support parts and accessories sellers worldwide. That’s a big market and it will become a lot easier to navigate for auto parts sellers.
Ecommerce technology is a tough business. The industry is changing on a daily basis, and it can be hard to keep up. Moving on to the auto parts industry, it has a level of complexity that you will not find in any other segment. Put the two together, and you have a challenge that most software vendors want to stay well away from.
myFitment, however, was born into this. This company knows auto parts and fitment better than anyone. For a long time, they’ve been refining their system and adding features that make business easier and more profitable for auto parts sellers. They’ve walked the walk, and now they’re ready to run.
This post was sponsored by myFitment